Those pesky terrorists are at it again. Luckily for you, they are a lousy shot!…
Last year, Namco released a new, iPhone only, chapter in their Time Crisis on rails gun series, it was an enjoyable title making use of both the touch and tilt features of the iPhone to replicate the gun experience of the arcade version with surprisingly good results.
A year later and Namco are back with 2nd Strike, promising more action, more weapons and better controls. So how does it fair?
The gameplay is essentially the same, which sees you engaging in firefight style set-pieces requiring you to take out the bad guys within the time limit. If the time hits zero, despite you still having lives, it’s game over. It’s a strange and unrealistic premise, but it adds great tension to the action, and without it it would be just another rail shooter.
As this is a rails shooter, you are not free to move around the environment and engage the enemy at will. Instead you’ll be partaking in mexican stand-offs, cowering behind stationary objects, and popping out from cover to unleash hell. In the previous title, the cover system was activated using tilt, and that option is still available here. However, as the default setup, Namco have now added virtual foot pedals in the two lower corners of the screen which, when touched, cause you to leap out from cover and engage the enemy. Both options work well, but the new pedals feel more responsive and emulate the original arcade experience closer still.
The tap to shoot control is the same, but this time you have an assortment of weapons at your disposal. Your trusty handgun will still see the most action, but now you can also unleash a machine gun, shotgun and grenades. These have less ammo pickups than the handgun, but if used strategically can be useful assets other than in-accurate noise makers.
Did I just say Strategy? Yep you heard right. As you replay levels you will learn the enemy attack patterns, and which weapons to use to achieve both the best times and the best score. For example, using a grenade at the right time and place can shave precious seconds off your time and ensure a victory, particularly on the harder difficulties, so yeah there is some strategy to the game.
Enemies come in various colours, and it’s almost a traffic light style code that dictates how badass they will be. The green guys don’t hurt you at all, at least not on easy mode where you can happily pop your head out without so much of a scratch. Instead they are simply there to make up the numbers, which you must kill to move on to the next section. The orange guys on the other hand do pack a punch. These tend to run at you, albeit slowly, brandishing a blade of some description. If you don’t take them down quick enough they hack you to death. Obviously, it’s the red guys you need to look out for. They are the one’s that will take your health if your are not quick enough with our gun, or ducking for cover with the v-pedals. Always look out for the reds, and take them out first, cos if they get a lock on you you’ll feel it.
The levels themselves are good fun, offering up more variation in both location and campy story lines. You’re briefed each level by a sexy female agent, who keeps you up-to-date with the evil goings on of the terrorists. The action is more important than the story though, and it can get pretty intense. The normal difficulty is damn tough, and if you are playing this on hard mode then you not only have balls of steel, but the reactions of a hawk on speed.
If there was one major area the game could improve upon, it was the graphics. I criticised the previous game for looking no better than a SEGA Saturn game, and while I understand that fans of the original games will have a soft spot for the blocky animation and graphics, there’s really no excuse. 2nd strike does improve things. The environments feature both better textures, models and lighting for added realism, but they still don’t come close to games such as Splinter Cell or N.O.V.A, and we know the iPhone can do so much more. If a game is on-rails you’d expect even more detail.
Time Crisis: 2nd Strike is another solid on-rails arcade experience from Namco. I’ve heard some liken it to whack-a-mole, well sure, but it’s a mole that’s high on crack and wielding a bazooka! Unfortunately though, Namco have set the entry price way too high at $9.99. Despite the premium license, I’m not sure people will be willing to plump down the premium price. It improves on the first game, but not enough to warrant the high price. For that reason, I can’t quite give it a 4/5, but consider it a high 3.5/5.
Time Crisis: 2nd Strike is out now for $9.99. get it now on the